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Florida Democrats enrage long-shot Biden challenger Dean Phillips by excluding him from the ballot

The Florida Democratic Party has reportedly excluded long-shot President Biden challenger Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota from the primary ballot, effectively leaving Floridian Democrats with a single choice for a Democratic presidential candidate — the incumbent. 

In a statement provided to Politico, Phillips accused the Florida Democratic Party of foul play, and threatened legal retaliation if he wasn’t included on the ballot. 

“Americans would expect the absence of democracy in Tehran, not Tallahassee,” Phillips told the outlet. “The intentional disenfranchisement of voters runs counter to everything for which our Democratic Party and country stand. Our mission as Democrats is to defeat authoritarians, not become them.”

The party, meanwhile, contends it followed protocol accordingly and has been transparent about the balloting process. 

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“We are dismayed by Dean Phillps’ conspiratorial and inappropriate comments comparing the state of Florida to the Iranian regime as part of his knee-jerk reaction to long-established procedures,” Florida Democratic Party chair Nikki Fried said in a statement. “This is unbecoming of someone running for higher office.”

Phillips’ campaign and the Florida Democratic Party have offered contrasting timelines as to when Phillips requested to be on the ballot before the state party submitted only Biden as a candidate for nomination. 

Florida’s primary is slated for March 19. 

Phillips’ campaign, meanwhile, is weighing a lawsuit against the Florida Democratic Party and possibly even the Democratic National Committee. The move would echo Independent Bernie Sanders’ claims in 2016 that the primary process had conspired against his presidential campaign in favor of Hillary Clinton. 

Fox News Digital has reached out to the Florida Democratic Party and Phillips’ campaign team for further comment. 

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Phillips, virtually unknown to most Americans, launched his presidential bid Oct. 27, becoming the first elected Democrat to challenge Biden for the nomination. Phillips announced last Friday he will not seek reelection to Congress in 2024.

“My journey to public service began the morning after the 2016 election, when I faced the reality that democracy requires participation — not observation,” the Minnesota congressman said in a statement.

“Seven years have passed, each presenting historic opportunities to practice a brand of optimistic politics that repairs relationships and improves people’s lives. We have met those moments, and after three terms it is time to pass the torch,” he added.

Phillips is one of the wealthiest members of Congress and heir to his stepfather’s Phillips Distilling Company empire, which holds major vodka and schnapps brands. 

Phillips once served as that company’s president but also ran the gelato maker Talenti. 

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